Amos 1

Study the Inner Meaning

English: American Standard Version         

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1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

2 And he said, Jehovah will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the pastures of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.

3 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Damascus, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:

4 but I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, and it shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad.

5 And I will break the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the valley of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden; and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith Jehovah.

6 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Gaza, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole people, to deliver them up to Edom:

7 but I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon; and I will turn my hand against Ekron; and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord Jehovah.

9 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Tyre, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole people to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant:

10 but I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

11 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Edom, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever:

12 but I will send a fire upon Teman, and it shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.

13 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they may enlarge their border.

14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind;

15 and their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith Jehovah.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
Chapter summary

Exploring the Meaning of Amos 1      

By Steve David

Internal Meaning of Amos, Chapter 1
Verses 1-2 describe the Lord teaching us about the Word and doctrine from the Word. In this book of the Bible, the prophet Amos symbolizes the Lord. Amos was a shepherd, and of course that metaphor is used to describe the Lord Jesus Christ, too, in the New Testament.

The book of Amos describes the Lord's anger and impatience with the Children of Israel - in the literal sense. Inside, though, it is really a story of the Lord’s great love and concern for us. This is a book of promise: The Lord will triumph over hell’s quest to dominate us and destroy the gift of salvation. This victory is not an occasional interest of the Lord’s; He has an “ardent zeal” to protect us.

In verse 2, the roaring of the Lord from Zion and the uttering of His voice from Jerusalem teach us several things about Him in this context:
- He has grievous distress for His church and people.
- He has an ardent zeal for protecting heaven and the church.
- He warns of coming vastations.
- He points to the drying up of our “Mount Carmel” and the effects this will have on our “vineyards.”

There are different ways to destroy true ideas and good loves. Verses 3-15 in this chapter describe the different ways that people do this.

Verses 3-5 are talking about people who pervert knowledges from the Word, knowledges which help us form true, useful doctrine. When people successfully corrupt knowledge from the Word, they also undermine the good that would come from that knowledge. But, these people will perish, spiritually.

Verses 6-8 describe people who apply the Word to create or reinforce heretical false ideas. That's not a good thing to do; they will perish, too.

Verses 9-10 address people who pervert knowledges [cognitiones] of good and truth, and thereby injure the external sense of the Word.

Verses 11-12 are about people who pervert the sense of the letter of the Word by falsity, by which doctrine perishes.

Finally, verses 13-15 describe people who falsify the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word: they do not resist in the day of combat, but destroy the truth of doctrine.

What are we to make of this? One take-away is that the Lord loves us, and wants to protect us. Another is that he wants us to carefully read the Word and seek the truths in it - those in the literal sense, and those in the internal sense. From these we should form sound doctrine, and develop good loves that can be built on true ideas.

See Arcana Coelestia 2606, 10325, and The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 201 for further reading.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 2606, 10325

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 201


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 367, 1197, 3995, 4171, 6419, 6804, 9340, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 343, 612


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 419, 532, 601, 746, 817, 850

Scriptural Confirmations 9, 75

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 27:41, 36:33

Exodus 3:1

Numbers 20:20

1 Samuel 6:17

2 Samuel 12:31, 14:2

2 Kings 8:12, 14:23, 28, 15:16, 16:9

2 Chronicles 20:10, 11, 21:16, 17, 26:1

Psalms 29:4

Isaiah 8:4, 17:1, 21:11, 23:1, 33:9, 34:5

Jeremiah 25:30, 28:8, 47:1, 49:1, 7, 23

Ezekiel 21:25, 25:1, 12, 15, 26:1, 27:1, 27, 28:1, 30:17, 35:1

Hosea 1:1, 10:8, 14:1

Amos 2:2, 5, 3:8, 9, 5:5, 7:14, 9:7

Obadiah 1:1

Zephaniah 2:4, 8

Zechariah 9:1, 2, 3, 5, 14:5

Malachi 1:4

Word/Phrase Explanations

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

king
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

judah
City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

jehovah
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

shepherds
The Writings tell us that shepherds represent those who lead and teach others, using knowledge and true ideas to help people reach the goodness of...

mourn
In a general sense, mourning in the Bible represents a state of grief over the lack of desires for good and true ideas about life....

Carmel
'Sharon, Bashan, and Carmel' signify the church regarding the knowledges of good and truth from the natural sense of the Word.

wither
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

Transgressions
'Transgressions' or 'trespasses' denote such evils as are done against the truths of faith.

Damascus
Damascus and Aroer (Isaiah 17:1, 2) signify the knowledges of truth and good. See Eliezer of Damascus.

four
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

turn
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

punishment
Punishment' is the consummation of evil, because after punishment, reformation succeeds. This is why it says in Deuteronomy 25:3, 'that no more than forty stripes...

Gilead
Mount Gilead, as in Genesis 31:21, 23, as a boundary, in a spiritual sense, signifies the first good, which is that of things pertaining to...

threshing
'To thresh,' as in Micah 4:13, signifies dissipating evils among people of the church.

iron
'An iron pan,' as in Ezekiel 4:3, signifies the truth that was falsified and adulterated among the Jewish people.

send
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

palaces
'A palace,' as in Psalm 144:12, represents the understanding in which truths have a beautiful form. They have a beautiful form when they are from...

break
To “break” something creates an image that is much different from “attacking,” “destroying,” or “shattering.” It is less emotional, less violent in its intent; it...

bar
Bars, as in Lamentations 2:9, signify doctrinals

Cut off
To be cut off, as in Genesis 41:36, signifies to perish.

eden
According to the Writings, “Eden” by itself means love, in most cases the love that comes from the Lord and our love for the Lord,...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

syria
'Syria,' as in Ezekiel 27:16, signifies the church regarding knowledges of truth and good.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Kir
Kir' denotes people who possess the knowledges of good and truth but pervert them.

Gaza
Gaza (or Azzah) signifies things revealed concerning charity.

Edom
'Edom' or 'Idumea,' as in Isaiah 34:5, signifies those who are in evil and in falsities thence derived.

wall
In Lamentations 2:8-9, 'wall,' 'rampart,' 'gates,' and 'bars' signify doctrines.

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

philistines
The Philistines play a large role in the Bible as one of the longest-standing and most bitter rivals of the people of Israel, clashing with...

Perish
'To perish,' or 'die,' relates to damnation, or the state in hell.

Tyre
'Tyre,' as in Ezekiel 27:13-14, represents people with knowledge of celestial and spiritual things.

Pursue
'To pursue,' as in Genesis 14:16, signifies a state of purification, because 'to pursue enemies' is the expulsion of evils and falsities which were with...

brother
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

kept
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

wrath
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

Teman
In Habakkuk 3:2-4, 'Teman' has respect to celestial love, and 'Mount Paran' to spiritual love.

Bozrah
'Holon, Jahazah, Mephaath, Dibon, Nebo, Beth-diblathaim, Kiriathaim, Beth-gamu, Beth-meon, Kerioth, Bozrah,' as mentioned in Jeremiah 48:21-26, signify the kinds of the false principle, whereby those...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Ammon
Ammonite and Moabite ('Deuteronomy 23:3'), signify the profanation of the celestial and spiritual things of faith.

with child
To be with child, (Gen. 38:24), signifies to produce something.

border
A 'hem,' 'skirt,' or 'border' signifies the extremes, or the natural principle.

rabbah
Rabbath

shouting
'Shouting, singing, and playing' have respect to spiritual things.

day of
'Day of vengeance' signifies a state of damnation.

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

battle
War in the Word represents the combat of temptation when what is good is assaulted by what is evil or false. The evil that attacks...


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